The Easing of San Francisco’s Office Vacancy Apocalypse

**Demand for San Francisco Offices Increases by 10% in Q2**

The demand for office spaces in San Francisco has shown signs of improvement, with a 10% increase in the second quarter compared to the previous three months. The data, provided by VTS, a commercial real estate technology firm, is based on tenant tours of office properties and their search for space in key US markets.

**Tech Boom Drives Demand for Large Office Spaces**

This positive trend is particularly good news for office owners in San Francisco who have been struggling with high vacancy rates, especially as technology firms have been scaling back on their office space. The demand for office spaces larger than 50,000 square feet has been primarily driven by the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) companies, according to Nick Romito, the CEO of VTS.

**Life Sciences Firms also Contributing to Office Space Demand**

In addition to AI companies, San Francisco is also attracting life sciences firms that require laboratory space. Mayor London Breed mentioned that there are currently 10 companies searching for nearly a million square feet of office space. This diversification of demand is promising for the city, which has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, resulting in an ailing downtown core, homelessness, and open drug use.

**San Francisco’s Road to Recovery**

While VTS’ data indicates a positive shift in office space demand, San Francisco is still grappling with the effects of remote work. According to badge-swipe data from Kastle Systems, the utilization rates during weekdays are still below 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Nick Romito expressed cautious optimism about the situation, stating that although it seems like the bottom has been reached, there is still a long way to go for San Francisco to fully recover. Consistency in quarter-over-quarter growth will be essential for the city to regain its pre-pandemic standing.

**Office Demand Declines in Other Major Cities**

While San Francisco shows signs of improvement, most other major cities tracked by VTS, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, reported a quarterly decline in new office demand. New York, however, experienced a slight decrease of nearly 4% from the previous quarter, but saw a 7.4% increase in demand compared to the previous year.

**San Francisco’s Resilience**

Despite the challenges faced by San Francisco, Mayor London Breed remains optimistic, highlighting the city’s history of reinventing itself through multiple downturns. The ability to overcome adversity and continuously attract investment and business is a testament to San Francisco’s appeal and resilience.

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